Last summer I began listening to podcasts for the first time, and I quickly fell in love with a plethora of the ideas I was hearing through my earbuds. But my very favorite idea to emerge from this new practice of listening to women share their hearts, was the idea of having a morning routine. A morning routine, for those who aren’t familiar with the phrase, is a time set aside for yourself first thing in the morning, to ground yourself for the day, and devote an hour to just yourself. I heard two women talk about this habit; and both advocated for getting up an hour earlier than you are used to in order to develop this habit.
Understand this- I am coming from a place of fatigue. I have been dead tired every morning of my life for the last 2 decades. So the idea of getting up an hour earlier, like in the 5s (!!!!!!!!) sounded downright ridiculous. I had a saying, and it was something like this: The only good reason to get up when the hour is still at 5 is because I am preparing for an early flight to the Maldives. Still, despite the early wake up time, I was intrigued by the idea of a morning routine, and being a goal oriented person, I decided to go for it.
Prior to this adventure I was setting my alarm for 6:00 each weekday, and hitting my snooze at least once. I decided to try 5:15, with a zero-tolerance snooze policy. I had high hopes and low faith.
After 7 months I am proud to report that I have only skipped my morning routine once! Once! That is amazing accuracy for someone who loves to snooze! I have found that the benefits far outweigh the pain and discomfort of that first moment on my feet in the dark. I love having time to orient myself to the day. I love having time to myself when the rest of the house is asleep and I have zero distractions. I love that I am no longer as frantic when ushering the kids and our stuff out the door every day. The morning routine has truly been a game changer for me.
So what exactly am I doing with that extra 45 minutes to myself?
- First things first; I make myself a large cup of piping hot coffee. That first sip is one of my favorite moments of the day. Sick, right? While the coffee is brewing I make my lunch for the day. (I have my kids eat hot lunch at school, and that saves me time and stress.)
- I pray. I am especially focusing of prayers of gratitude at this time. I am trying to be intentional about being thankful for different things each and every day.
- I read my bible. Usually I read about 2 chapters. I have read through the Bible twice as an adult, and now that I am on my third time through I am finding that the figures and stories of the Old Testament are sticking with me better. I am remembering more than just my favorite verses now.
- I check my e-mail and read my daily news summary. I can’t handle too much news; but I want to be informed, so I love reading the morning summary that is delivered to my e-mail. I use the Skimm, and I love the sarcasm and wit with which they deliver the news summary.
- I read my morning book. This is different than my evening book. At night I usually read fiction. In the morning I usually read a chapter or two from a non-fiction book; often the book that we are reading for my monthly book club, or another inspirational book that I have heard about on a podcast. I am currently reading Switch on Your Brain, by Dr. Caroline Leaf. I recently finished The Best Yes, by Lysa Terkeust and Start, by Jon Acuff, and I’m gearing up for Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis. What they all have in common is a thread of motivation or the spark for a habit change: thinking positively, guarding my time, reaching for a dream. They are the perfect way to start the day.
- Check my Instagram. I end my morning time by responding to any comments that have been left for me on Instagram or Facebook. I try not to get sucked into perusing feeds at this time, and I leave it for last so that I don’t have the time to go down the rabbit hole.
So there you have it! Both Allie Cassaza and Rachel Hollis, whom I learned the morning routine from, have a similar flow for their morning routine, yet they both journal on a daily basis as well. I tried to incorporate daily journal time into my morning routine, but it didn’t stick with me. Even though I’m a writer, it was the piece of my routine that I didn’t really look forward to. I will still squeeze it in if there is something really on my heart and I really feel like writing it out though. I love to make lists, so if I have a list in my head I will jot it down at this time.
I don’t know how I will modify the morning routine when I am on summer vacation. Currently on weekends I do a modified version, but the kids are swarming around me, and it’s not as effective. I can’t truly picture myself waking up at 5:15 when I don’t have to be at work, but I don’t want to have to retrain myself when school starts again. I will have to see how that goes when summer arrives.
What I know for now is that the morning routine has been so good for me, and it has been much easier than I ever ever ever thought it could be. If even a little sliver of your heart is intrigued by this then I encourage and challenge you to try it for a week. You will most likely be hooked by the benefits. If this lazy snoozer can do it, then so can you!
Happy mornings to you all!